Sochi Olympics: Viewer's guide

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Here is a look at some of the events on our radar at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia:

Friday, Feb. 7

What: Opening Ceremony
Where: Fisht Olympic Stadium
When: 11 a.m. ET

Summary: What type of show will Russia put on? Sabre dances? Russian folk music? Vladimir Putin taking off his shirt? We'll see, but do not expect James Bond sky-diving into the stadium (darn) or Yoko Ono singing (good!).

Saturday, Feb. 8

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Ice Dance Team short dance, 9:30 a.m. ET; Women's Team short program, 11:10 a.m. ET; Pairs Team free program, 1:05 p.m. ET

Summary: Thanks to this fun new event, figure skaters will be competing more for their countries than just themselves. Here's how it works. Countries will have an individual man, individual woman, one pair and one ice dance couple competing in team short and long programs. The performances receive points in the order of how they finish, and the country with the best total score wins. Canada, the U.S. and Russia are the top contenders. Unfortunately, the U.S. will not be wearing team uniforms -- so no star-spangled sequins, feathers, tassels or corsets.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Moguls Qualification, 9 a.m. ET; Women's Moguls Finals, 1 p.m. ET

Summary: 2010 Olympic champ Hannah Kearney is back and surrounded by a strong U.S. team that includes two-time Olympian Heather McPhie and rookies Heidi Kloser and Eliza Outtrim.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena
Events/When: Women, Group A: United States vs. Finland, 3 a.m. ET

Summary: Early round-robin matches in the women's hockey tournament often shape up as cakewalks for the perennially strong U.S. team. Not so this time. Finland stunned the U.S. 3-1 at the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y. in November and became the first team other than Canada to defeat the Americans in a non-medal round at a major international event -- a 161-game streak. The U.S. women will try to solve goalkeeper Noora Raty (University of Minnesota), who made 58 saves in that game.

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Slopestyle Semifinals, 12:30 a.m. ET; Men's Slopestyle Finals, 3:45 a.m. ET

Summary: Shaun White's withdrawal from slopestyle might change the amount of media attention placed on slopestyle's Olympic debut. But it doesn't much change the storyline: Can Canadians Mark McMorris, Sebastian Toutant and Max Parrot sweep the podium?

Sunday, Feb. 9

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Men's downhill, 2 a.m. ET

Summary: If the Olympics are all about memorable moments, this Alpine opener could provide Bode Miller will his best chance at Olympic glory in his final Games. Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal is the unquestioned favorite, but Miller has rounded into form in recent weeks and can never be counted out.

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Men's Team free program, 10 a.m. ET; Women's Team free program, 11:05 a.m. ET; Ice Dance Team free dance, 1:10 p.m. ET

Summary: Which country will have bragging rights after the first Olympic team figure skating competition?

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Slopestyle Semifinals, 1:30 a.m. ET; Women's Slopestyle Finals, 4:15 a.m. ET

Summary: American Jamie Anderson has won eight of the past 12 women's slopestyle contests, but in the past year, she's lost back-to-back X Games to Silje Norendal of Norway. In Sochi, the rider known for hugging trees before her run will need more than positive energy to take gold: She needs to land her cab 900.

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Women's 3000, 6:30 a.m. ET

Summary: Defending champion Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic figures into everyone's podium scenario in this event, along with much-decorated fellow distance specialists Ireen Wust of the Netherlands and Claudia Pechstein of Germany. Pechstein, a nine-time Olympic medalist (including five golds) sat out the last Winter Games because of a doping suspension, which she fought vigorously.

Monday, Feb. 10

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Women's Super Combined (downhill), 2 a.m. ET; Women's Super Combined (slalom), 6 a.m. ET

Summary: The ultimate lightning round in alpine -- this is only the second time the Olympic event has been contested with a single slalom run, as opposed to the previous format of two plus a downhill -- obviously rewards a varied skill set. The field is stocked with veterans who could meet that criteria. Julia Mancuso of the U.S. won a silver medal in this discipline in Vancouver.

What: Short-Track Speedskating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Men's 1500 Heats, 4:45 a.m. ET; Women's 500 Heats, 5:30 a.m. ET; Men's 1500 Semifinals, 6:10 a.m. ET; Women's 3000 Relay Semifinals, 6:40 a.m. ET; Men's 1500 Final, 7:05 a.m. ET

Summary: With Apolo Ohno retired, the top American is J.R. Celski. He won two medals in Vancouver despite slicing open his leg and bleeding on the ice at the U.S. trials just five months earlier. He doesn't have as dramatic a story this time but, he did win all three events at the last U.S. trials. And he has a famous fan in his corner -- four-time Grammy winner and fellow Seattle-area resident Macklemore.

Tuesday, Feb. 11

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Women's Free Sprint

Summary: The U.S. has won only one Olympic medal in cross-country skiing, and that was Bill Koch's silver 38 long years ago at the 1976 Innsbruck Games. But there is a good chance that drought will finally end thanks to Kikkan Randall, the four-time Olympian who just keeps getting better and better. The "Kikkanimal" has 11 World Cup victories, and now she wants that elusive Olympic podium.

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Pairs short program, 10 a.m. ET

Summary: The first half of a probable Olympic coronation for world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia, who seek to restore the old world order. Russia, and prior to that the Soviet Union, owned this event from 1964 through 2006 with only one exception, and this duo represents the best chance the country has for a gold after being shut out in Vancouver in 2010. Volosozhar and Trankov scored a record 237.71 total points at Skate America in October. The rink in Sochi is literally home ice for the pair, who have trained there frequently.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Slopestyle Qualification, 1 a.m. ET; Women's Slopestyle Final, 4 a.m. ET

Summary: Canadian Kaya Turski has been the feel-good story of the season, returning from ACL surgery after only five months to win at the X Games in January. But American Maggie Voisin, who took second to Turski at the X Games in January, has a switch 1080 and, at 15, has nothing to lose.

What: Ski Jumping
Where: RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center
Events/When: Women's Individual (normal hill) First Round, 12:30 p.m. ET; Women's Individual (normal hill) Final, 1:20 p.m. ET

Summary: This is it -- the culmination of eight years of legal and bureaucratic wrangling to get women's ski jumping in the Olympics. A field of 30 will contest the lone event (compared to three events for men). Will reigning world champion Sarah Hendrickson be in podium form less than six months after major reconstructive knee surgery? Japan's Sara Takanashi has dominated the World Cup circuit in her absence. U.S. veterans Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome will join Hendrickson on the hill.

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Halfpipe Quarterfinals, 5 a.m. ET; Men's Halfpipe Semifinals, 10 a.m. ET; Men's Halfpipe Final, 12:30 p.m. ET

Summary: If Shaun White wins, he will become the first American man to win gold at three consecutive Winter Olympics. He dropped out of slopestyle to focus on defending his halfpipe title and, if he needs it, White could land the sport's first triple cork in a halfpipe. Even a perfectly executed YOLO flip can't top that.

Wednesday, Feb. 12

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Women's downhill, 2 a.m. ET

Summary: Lindsey Vonn's rebuilt knee couldn't withstand the stress of a full season, so the 2010 gold medalist will be a faraway spectator when the title is conferred on someone else. It could be her longtime friend and rival Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who achieved a double win in Vonn's old stomping grounds, Lake Louise, last fall and captured another World Cup in Cortina d'Ampezzo just two weeks ago.

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Pairs free program, 10:45 a.m.

Summary: Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are as close to a lock as there is in this sport, and most prognosticators view Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany as clear favorites for the silver medal. But the single most crowd-pleasing moment of the session may come from a U.S. team, if Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir can pull off a clean quadruple throw Salchow. With their height difference, Castelli looks as if she's going to sail right out of the rink.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena, Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men, Group C -- Czech Republic vs. Sweden, noon ET; Men, Group C -- Latvia vs. Switzerland, noon ET
Women, Group A -- Switzerland vs. Finland, 3 a.m. ET; Women, Group A -- Canada vs. United States, 7:30 a.m. ET

Summary: The men's hockey tournament will open with a dandy as the Czech Republic takes on gold-medal favorite (OK, one of them) Sweden. Lots of questions about how the Czech team was put together, while the Swedes have a bunch of players coming off injury, including Henrik Zetterberg and Alexander Steen.

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Halfpipe Quarterfinals, 5 a.m. ET; Women's Halfpipe Semifinals, 10 a.m. ET; Women's Halfpipe Final, 12:30 p.m. ET

Summary: Fans have been waiting for this since the Vancouver Games in 2010 -- American Kelly Clark, the most dominant rider in halfpipe history versus technical master Torah Bright, the defending Olympic gold medalist who is competing in three snowboard events for Team Australia in Sochi. Halfpipe will be her second of three.

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Men's 1000, 9 a.m. ET

Summary: Depending on what Shaun White does in the halfpipe one day earlier, the 1,000-meter men's speedskating final could be an opportunity for Chicago's Shani Davis to become the first American man to win three straight gold medals in a single event.

Thursday, Feb. 13

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Men's short program, 10 a.m. ET

Summary: Canadian Patrick Chan is the reigning world champion and a gold-medal favorite, but keep an eye on contender Yuzuru Hanyu. The Japanese champion is from Sendai, and his home rink was damaged in the devastating 2011 earthquake, forcing him to train in other cities.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Slopestyle Qualification, 1:15 a.m. ET; Men's Slopestyle Final, 4:30 a.m. ET

Summary: American skier Nick Goepper is coming off an exciting win at the X Games in Aspen, where he became the first skier in 10 years to win the event twice. In Sochi, he plans to become the first freeskier to win the Olympics. Period.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena, Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men, Group B -- Finland vs. Austria, 3 a.m. ET; Men, Group A -- Russia vs. Slovenia, 7:30 a.m. ET; Men, Group A: Slovakia vs. United States, 7:30 a.m. ET; Men, Group B -- Canada vs. Norway, noon ET
Women, Group B -- Japan vs. Germany, 3 a.m. ET; Women, Group B -- Sweden vs. Russia, noon ET

Summary: Things really get rolling in the men's tournament with host Russia getting an easy start against Slovenia, which is participating in its first-ever Olympic tournament (they previously competed with the former Yugoslavia). Canada, likewise, should have an easy time with Norway, while the U.S. will have its hands full with Zdeno Chara, Marian Hossa and the rest of the Slovaks.

What: Short-Track Speedskating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Women's 500 Quarterfinals, 5 a.m. ET; Men's 1000 Heats, 5:25 a.m. ET; Women's 500 Semifinals, 6:10 a.m. ET; Men's 5000 Relay Semifinals, 6:35 a.m. ET; Women's 500 Final, 7:05 a.m. ET

Summary: Forget keeping the skaters straight on the ice -- just try keeping their names straight. The top contenders here are China's Fan Kexin, South Korea's Shim Suk-hee and Park Seung-hi, who will all try to take advantage of the absence of two-time gold medalist Wang Meng, who is out with a broken ankle.

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Women's 1000, 9 a.m. ET (Heather Richardson)

Summary: Two Americans, 2013 world sprint champion Heather Richardson, 24, and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, 25, have dominated World Cup events this season and are podium favorites in an event last won by a U.S. woman (Christine Witty) in 2002. Other contenders include Olga Fatkulina of Russia and Zhang Hong of South Korea.

Friday, Feb. 14

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Men's Super Combined (downhill), 2 a.m. ET; Men's Super Combined (slalom), 6 a.m. ET

Summary: Bode Miller won gold in this event in 2010, but the top U.S. medal hope is Ted Ligety, who won gold in the combined in 2006. While he lacks the marketing profile of Miller, Ligety is the most successful American skier over the past two seasons, and he won the super combined at last month's World Cup in Wengen, Austria.

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Men's free program, 10 a.m. ET

Summary: While Chan and Hanyu are the favorites, the U.S. medal hopes rest with two skaters. Four-time champion Jeremy Abbott will try to make up for a poor performance in Vancouver, and however he does, expect tears of joy or sadness. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Jason Brown probably won't have a quad in his program, but neither did Evan Lysacek in Vancouver. Regardless, Brown's showmanship could make him a crowd favorite.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Aerials Qualification, 8:45 a.m. ET; Women's Aerials Finals, 12:30 p.m. ET

Summary: Veteran Emily Cook is looking for the peak performance that has eluded her in two previous Winter Games appearances. She and 2010 Olympian Ashley Caldwell will be underdogs -- along with the rest of the world -- up against the Chinese juggernaut in the sport.

What: Skeleton
Where: Sanki Sliding Center
Events/When: Men's (Run 1), 7:30 a.m. ET; Men's (Run 2), 9 a.m. ET; Women's (Run 3), 10:40 a.m. ET; Women's (Run 4), 11:50 a.m. ET

Summary: Will an American woman medal for the first time in the sport since 2002? Noelle Pikus-Pace and Katie Uhlaender hope so.

Saturday, Feb. 15

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Women's Super G, 2 a.m. ET

Summary: Switzerland's Lara Gut, winner of three World Cups this season, will be favored in a fairly wide-open field. Lindsey Vonn's absence looms large here for the U.S. team, which is hoping that Julia Mancuso can tap into the form that brought her consistent success in the discipline form 2010 through last season.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena, Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men, Group A -- Slovakia vs. Sweden, 3 a.m. ET; Men, Group A -- United States vs. Russia, 7:30 a.m. ET; Men, Group C -- Switzerland vs. Czech Republic, noon ET; Men, Group C -- Sweden vs. Latvia, noon ET

Summary: This might be the most eagerly anticipated of all the preliminary games, the U.S. taking on the host Russians. The pressure on the Russians to win it all is intense, while a win for the Americans, as was the case when they beat Canada in preliminary play in Vancouver, would set them up nicely for a top seed at the end of the preliminary competition.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena, Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Women, Quarterfinals, 3 a.m., 7:30 a.m. ET

Summary: The medal round begins for the women. Will the new Olympic format have knocked out any contenders by now? The other quarterfinal matches take place a day later.

What: Short-Track Speedskating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Women's 1500 Heats, 5 a.m. ET; Men's 1000 Quarterfinals, 5:25 a.m. ET; Women's 1500 Semifinals, 6:15 a.m. ET; Men's 1000 Semifinals, 6:45 a.m. ET; Women's 1500 Final, 7:10 a.m. ET; Men's 1000 Final, 7:20 a.m. ET

Summary: No Apolo Anton Ohno this time around. Which U.S. athletes will make a name for themselves in short track?

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Men's 1500, 8:30 a.m. ET

Summary: For all of his success on the ice, Shani Davis has yet to win Olympic gold in the Race of Kings. This year's quest won't be easy, as the four World Cup stages this season have brought four different winners in the 1,500. Last year's test event in Sochi was won by Russia's Denis Yuskov.

Sunday, Feb. 16

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Men's Super G, 2 a.m. ET

Summary: Norway's Aksel Svindal Lund won this event at Vancouver in 2010 and he's the favorite again this year. He's currently the World Cup leader in the Super G, with nearly twice as many points as runner-up Didier Defago.

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Ice Dancing short dance, 10 a.m. ET

Summary: The North American derby resumes. Two sensational Michigan-based teams -- Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States, and rink mates Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada -- pick up the thread of a rivalry that has lifted the level of ice dancing to unprecedented heights of athleticism and artistry.

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Snowboard Cross Seeding, 2 a.m. ET; Women's Snowboard Cross Quarterfinals, 4:15 a.m. ET; Women's Snowboard Cross Semifinals, 4:30 a.m. ET; Women's Snowboard Cross Finals, 4:45 a.m. ET

Summary: No need to recap Lindsey Jacobellis' history at the Olympics, other to say it's been a bumpy ride. The most dominant rider in her sport, Jacobellis is finally healthy after an ACL injury that sidelined her for nearly two years. She's in Sochi with a positive outlook, nothing to prove and nothing to lose. Which is why she should win.

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Women's 1500, 9 a.m. ET

Summary: Defending champion Ireen Wust of the Netherlands and teammates Lotte Van Beek and Marrit Leenstra will pose a formidable flying wedge to the rest of the world, including Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe of the United States.

Monday, Feb. 17

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Ice Dancing free dance, 10 a.m. ET

Summary: Can Americans Davis and White unseat Canadians Virtue and Moir for the gold medal? Hard to imagine a better finale than these two incandescent teams put on in Vancouver four years ago, but they'll try.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Aerials Qualification, 8:45 a.m. ET; Men's Aerials Finals, 12:30 p.m. ET

Summary: Freestyle skiing added two new events to the Olympic program, but didn't increase the total number of athletes, leaving some countries with tough decisions. The U.S. team elected to enter just one man -- 18-year-old Mac Bohannon -- in aerials, making him the heir to a tradition of success that began with Eric Bergoust's gold in 1998 and continued through the late Speedy Peterson's heartwarming silver four years ago. Bohannon's second place at a recent World Cup confirmed his potential and sealed his trip.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena
Events/When: Women's Semifinals, 7:30 a.m. ET, noon ET

Summary: For four teams, a chance to take one step closer to a gold medal.

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Snowboard Cross Seeding, 2 a.m. ET; Men's Snowboard Cross Quarterfinals, 4:15 a.m. ET; Men's Snowboard Cross Semifinals, 4:30 a.m. ET; Men's Snowboard Cross Finals, 4:45 a.m. ET

Summary: For eight years, American Nate Holland has lived in the Olympic-sized shadow of his teammate, Seth Wescott, the two-time defending champ in snowboardcross. Holland, who just won his seventh X Games gold, has yet to podium at the Olympics. Wescott didn't make this year's Olympic team and Holland is riding as consistently as ever. Is this (finally) his year?

Tuesday, Feb. 18

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Women's Giant Slalom, first run, 2 a.m. ET; Women's Giant Slalom, second run, 5:30 a.m. ET

Summary: Five different women have won the five World Cups contested in this discipline this season. Mikaela Shiffrin, the breakout U.S. star in slalom, has been making inroads in her second event, taking a silver and a bronze on the World Cup circuit.

What: Bobsled
Where: Sanki Sliding Center
Events/When: Women's Two-Woman (Run 1), 10:15 a.m. ET; Women's Two-Woman (Run 2), 11:20 a.m. ET

Summary: For all the attention given to the selection of Lolo Jones as a pusher for the U.S., reality is the gold medal will likely come down to the top U.S. team of Elana Meyers and Aja Evans or Canada's Kallie Humphries and Heather Moyse, the defending gold medalists. Humphries' sled beat Meyers' for the World Cup title by one point in January.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Halfpipe Qualification, 8:45 a.m. ET; Men's Halfpipe Finals, 12:30 p.m. ET

Summary: Since the last Olympic cycle, American skier David Wise has won every X Games ski halfpipe contest, the in-between-Olympics Olympics of his sport, which is making its Olympic debut in Sochi. But Wise has received more attention for his life outside of skiing, where he's a husband, dad and 23. After his Olympic debut, it's likely that his skiing will take the international stage.

What: Short-Track Speedskating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Women's 1000 Heats, 4:30 a.m. ET; Men's 500 Heats, 5:15 a.m. ET; Women's 3000 Relay Final, 5:55 a.m. ET

Summary: We know the U.S. won't medal, because despite taking bronze in Vancouver, the American team didn't qualify to compete in this event this time. South Korea and China, meanwhile, will battle for gold.

Wednesday, Feb. 19

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Men's Giant Slalom, first run, 2 a.m. ET; Men's Giant Slalom, second run, 5:30 a.m. ET

Summary: In all likelihood, this is a two-man race between American star Ted Ligety and Marcel Hirscher of Austria. Ligety is the reigning world champion in the event. He and Hirscher have traded podiums during the World Cup season, with Ligety winning the most recent race in St. Moritz, Switzerland, by an impressive 1.51 seconds.

What: Cross-country
Where: Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center
Events/When: Women's Team Classic Sprint

Summary: While four-time Olympian Kikkan Randall is America's best cross-country skier, Minnesota's Jessie Diggins, 22, is an upcoming star. Randall and Diggins won the team sprint at last year's world championships, and they could do so again.

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Women's short program, 10 a.m. ET

Summary: U.S. Figure Skating sparked controversy at last month's national championships when it chose Ashley Wagner over third-place Mirai Nagasu. We'll see whether Wagner justifies that decision, and whether she or fellow Americans Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds can crack the podium with favorites Kim Yu-Na and Mao Asada. Another contender: Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena, Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men, Quarterfinals, TBD, 3 a.m. ET

Summary: This might be the hardest day in the men's hockey tournament, as four teams with legitimate medal hopes will be sent home empty-handed.

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Qualification, 12:15 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom, Qualification, 1:15 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Giant Slalom First Round, 4 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Quarterfinals, 4:25 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Semifinals, 4:35 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Finals, 4:45 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom First Round, 4:55 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom Quarterfinals, 5:20 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom Semifinals, 5:35 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom Finals, 5:45 a.m. ET

Summary: American rider Justin Reiter ditched his apartment, took time off from work and spent the past season living out of his van in Park City, Utah, while he worked toward securing a spot on the U.S. team. He made it. And with determination like that, anything is possible.

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Women's 5000, 8:30 a.m. ET

Summary: The same women expected to vie for the 3,000 will go at it in this event, which Czech star Martina Sablikova won in 2010 to cap her distance double. Germany's Claudia Pechstein and Ireen Wust of the Netherlands round out the consensus podium picks.

Thursday, Feb. 20

What: Curling
Where: Ice Cube Curling Center
Events/When: Women, Bronze Medal, 3:30 a.m. ET; Women, Gold Medal, 8:30 a.m. ET

Summary: You may not be a curling expert, but the sport is surprisingly fun, and the women's competition also carries some sex appeal with Russian skip Anna Sidorova.

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Women's free program, 10 a.m. ET

Summary: Not so long ago, this title looked like Yuna Kim's for the retaking, but the rapid ascent of Russian teenager Julia Lipnitskaia and the continued excellence of Japan's Mao Asada make that far from a sure thing. Few skaters could be more motivated than Ashley Wagner of the U.S., who dramatically ditched her "Romeo and Juliet" long program after a calamitous national championships and has reverted to a freshened-up "Samson and Delilah" from last season. Meanwhile, 18-year-old U.S. champ Gracie Gold will try to live up to the expectations generated by her recent win.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Ski Cross Seeding, 2:45 a.m. ET; Men's Ski Cross Finals, 4:30 a.m. ET

Summary: Before the Games, Canadian Olympic officials declared a goal of winning ski cross medals in both the men's and women's disciplines. With a men's team that includes world No. 1 Dave Duncan and returning Olympian Chris Del Bosco, that sounds almost humble.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Halfpipe Qualification, 9:30 a.m. ET; Women's Halfpipe Final, 12:30 p.m. ET

Summary: The women of the sport of freeskiing will compete in Sochi with heavy hearts in the memory of Canadian skier Sarah Burke, one of the pioneers of halfpipe and slopestyle skiing, and a woman who is much to credit with the inclusion of freeskiing in the Games. American Maddie Bowman and Canadian Roz Groenewoud are favorites to win.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Women, Bronze-Medal Game, 7 a.m. ET; Gold-Medal Game, noon ET

Summary: If the Olympic tournament goes as hockey officials hope it does, overall the games will demonstrate more parity and depth in the field. But everyone expects the gold medal to come down to the same two teams that have duked it out in three of the last four editions of the Olympics. The spirited rivalry between Canada and the United States veered into edgy territory over the last few months when brawls broke out in two games. Olympic strategy and decorum will probably keep things from getting out of hand when the championship is at stake, but emotions will be high if the Americans earn a shot at reclaiming the gold medal they won in the inaugural women's competition in 1998.

Friday, Feb. 21

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Women's Slalom, first run, 7:45 a.m. ET; Women's Slalom, second run, 11:15 a.m. ET

Summary: If any teenager can handle the ratcheted-up hype of the Olympics, it's the gifted and composed Mikaela Shiffrin, who will start as the favorite in her specialty in her first Olympics. Uncommon technique and a growing understanding of how to generate power through the gates propelled the 18-year-old to the World Cup slalom title last year, and she's poised to recapture it (three wins on the World Cup circuit this season). Two-time Olympic slalom medalist Marlies Schild, 32, of Austria, who has a record 35 slalom titles, should provide the chief competition.

What: Curling
Where: Ice Cube Curling Center
Events/When: Men, Bronze Medal, 3:30 a.m. ET; Men, Gold Medal, 8:30 a.m. ET

Summary: Another positive for curling? The U.S. team is a bunch of regular guys, including a restaurant manager (skip John Shuster), a science teacher (Jeff Isaacson) and an engineer (John Landsteiner). They probably will not be wearing the same pants as the Norwegian team in Vancouver.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Ski Cross, 2:45 a.m. ET; Women's Ski Cross, 4:30 a.m. ET

Summary: Canadian skier Ashleigh McIvor won the first gold medal for her country in Vancouver in 2010. And although the Games have moved 6,000 miles away from their homeland, the Canadian team is still among the strongest. All three skiers -- Kelsey Serwa, Marielle Thompson and Georgia Simmerling -- are among the top 10 in the overall World Cup standings.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men's Semifinals -- TBD, 7 a.m. ET and noon ET

Summary: The winners of these two games will meet in Sunday's gold-medal showdown. The losers will battle for a bronze medal.

What:Short-Track Speedskating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Men's 500 Quarterfinals, 11:30 a.m. ET; Women's 1000 Quarterfinals, 5:45 a.m. ET; Men's 500 Semifinals, 12:15 p.m. ET; Women's 1000 Semifinals, 12:25 p.m. ET; Men's 500 Final, 12:45 p.m. ET; Women's 1000 Final, 12:55 p.m. ET; Men's 5000 Relay Final, 1:20 p.m. ET

Summary: With three finals, the always-chaotic short track will be especially so on this today. Adding another layer of chaos? South Korea is one of the sport's dominant countries, but it lost one of its best skaters in 2011 when Ahn Hyun-Soo, a triple gold medalist at the 2006 Torino Games, left the team. He is now a Russian citizen and will skate for that country with a partially new name, Viktor Ahn.

Saturday, Feb. 22

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Men's Slalom, first run, 7:45 a.m. ET; Men's Slalom, second run, 11:15 a.m. ET

Summary: If Hirscher can defeat Ligety in the giant slalom, he will eye the slalom/giant slalom double three days later.

What: Bobsled
Where: Sanki Sliding Center
Events/When: Men's Four-Man (Run 1), 11:30 a.m. ET; Men's Four-Man (Run 2), 1 p.m. ET

Summary: The American team led by driver Steve Holcomb will look to defend its first-ever gold in Vancouver. Germany again will mount the stiffest competition, with driver Maximilian Arndt beating Holcomb for the World Cup title in January. The Russians and Swiss can't be counted out, either, after winning previous test events at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi.

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Gala Exhibition, 11:30 a.m. ET

Summary: You know you want to watch your favorite figure skaters let their hair down, wear more sequins, and skate to more than just classical music.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men, Bronze Medal, 10 a.m. ET

Summary: The bronze-medal game is always a great litmus test for a team's character after the disappointment of being denied a chance at gold.

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Parallel Slalom Qualification, 12:15 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Slalom, Qualification, 1:15 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Slalom First Round, 4:15 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Slalom Quarterfinals, 4:30 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Slalom Semifinals, 4:50 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Slalom Finals, 5 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Slalom First Round, 5:10 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Slalom Quarterfinals, 5:35 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Slalom Semifinals, 5:50 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Slalom Finals, 6 a.m. ET

Summary: Parallel slalom also makes its Olympic debut in Sochi; it is a race in which two riders race similar, parallel courses. First rider to the finish wins. The addition of PS gives American rider Justin Reiter, an eight-time North American Cup champ, another shot at a podium.

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Women's Team Pursuit Semifinals, 8:30 a.m. ET; Men's Team pursuit Finals, 8:50 a.m. ET; Women's Team Pursuit Finals, 9:10 a.m. ET

Summary: In the team pursuit, skaters start from opposite sides of the oval and try to chase down the competition -- or avoid being chased down. The U.S. finished fourth in 2010.

Sunday, Feb. 23

What: Bobsled
Where: Sanki Sliding Center
Events/When: Men's Four-Man (Run 3), 4:30 a.m. ET; Men's Four-Man (Run 4), 6 a.m. ET

Summary: The grand finale. Will Holcomb & Co. be in the running?

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men, Gold Medal, 7 a.m. ET

Summary: The most anticipated event in any Winter Olympics. If we get half the game we got in Vancouver, where Canada edged the U.S. in overtime on Sidney Crosby's golden goal, then this tournament will be a roaring success.

What: Closing Ceremony
Where: Fisht Olympic Stadium
Events/When: 11 a.m. ET

Summary: While the opening ceremonies can be a bit grandiose and overly long, the shorter closing ceremonies are usually very entertaining. Hopefully, these will be better than those in London, where they gave us the Pet Shop Boys and way too much George Michael. But can they top Vancouver, which gave us Michael Buble in a Canadian Mountie uniform plus giant beavers and jugs of maple syrup?

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